Here you are. You have spent countless hours reading textbooks, studying for tests, analyzing case studies, writing papers, presenting projects, defending your dissertation, and expanding yourself through the power of knowledge. Today we commend you for all you have accomplished in your quest for education. But at the same time we salute you for something just as important. We salute you for your pursuit in the quest for the rest of your lives. Each semester, I am moved by the many untold stories shared by our students in our classrooms. Our graduate students do more than continue their education while working full time and caring for their families. They become more than classmates who study and learn together. Every semester our graduate students use their personal experiences at work and at home to teach and counsel each other. And every semester they are inspired to support each other in times of need and life’s seemingly endless challenges. One of our classes recently spent time brainstorming ways to draw attention to the need for bone marrow donors after learning a fellow student’s loved one had been diagnosed with leukemia. Your teamwork and your dedication have gone beyond the day’s assignment or the semester’s project. It has been directed into making those around you better. That, my friends, is a skill you will find as invaluable as the degree you are awarded today. At some point in your life you will be dealt a bad hand that you can’t win with… and when that day comes…and believe me it will come….I urge you to play those cards to win, by reaching out to others to join you in your quest to find meaning for the rest of your life. As you continue your journey for the rest of your lives and into the world of opportunity, you leave here with a good education and preparation. But you also leave us with things we can’t take credit for: your optimism, your enthusiasm, your determination and your perseverance.
May your cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall be with you for the rest of your life! Graduates of the class of 2012, congratulations.